Libya rebels pull back from assault on Tripoli gateway | Pakistan Today

Libya rebels pull back from assault on Tripoli gateway

Libyan rebels pulled most of their fighters back from an assault on a gateway to Tripoli on Thursday to regroup, as Moamer Gaddafi’s regime accused NATO of killing more than 1,100 civilians. And as the insurgent campaign on the capital from mountains to the southwest continues apace, Russia’s special envoy to Libya was quoted as saying he believes Gaddafi has a “suicide plan” to blow up Tripoli if it falls.
“Yesterday, we got to within six kilometres (four miles) of Asabah, but most of our forces have returned” to Gualish, where rebels repulsed a bid by Gaddafi forces on Wednesday to recapture the desert hamlet, said local commander Abdel Majid Salem. Asabah is strategically located 80 kilometres south of the capital, serving as the last barrier between the rebels and the garrison town of Gharyan.
Salem said the bulk of the rebels had returned to “secure the area” around Gualish, some 17 kilometres further south, but that some remained outside Asabah and that they now held a checkpoint six kilometres north of Gualish. Another rebel commander, Mokhtar Lakdar, said insurgent fighters were “ten to fifteen kilometres from Asabah. We are studying the positions of Gaddafi’s forces and will attack after that.”
On Wednesday, loyalists caught rebels off guard and attacked Gualish, which the insurgents captured a week earlier, and seized nearly all of it. But reinforcements poured in from surrounding villages and drove the loyalists out, chasing them up the road toward Asabah. Then, from hills above the town, the rebels fired heavy and small arms and loyalists responded with Grad rockets, said an AFP correspondent embedded with the rebels.

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